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39 Y/O Training Advice / Personal stories

I am a 39 year old male. I have been lifting since I was 16, mostly on, some off. Stats six foot two inches 208 pounds Body fat around 16% (15.387 with sneaker). I have not maxed out in some time, but current lifts are as follows: Bench 225 x 7reps Squat 225 x 10 reps Deadlift (trap bar) 315 x 7. Right now my main goals are to hold strength and muscle, while dropping fat% to around 7%.

Next year I hit 40 and would like to do some Masters T&F (200 400). I would be lying if I did not say that I want to look good as a main goal. I thought of doing and upper/lower/upper 3x day a week split, with some stair running as my cardio. I was hoping to get input/advice on my idea, or what you have done to achieve a similar goal. Thanks.

Welcome and good luck. As my goals are different than yours, I have nothing helpful to add, but wish you success.

Thank you sir. I look forward to “seeing” you around here.

Bro, a man after my own heart. I am also 39 this year and recommenced lifting 3 years ago after a 15 year layoff. I am training to complete at masters level next year and currently my lifts are Dead - 550, Squat - 495, Bench - 325 all at 238lb bodyweight.
Now to business, my best and brightest gains in strength and shape were after using the 6 week Reactive Pump program by John Meadows found here on this site. Although my diet was certainly not what was prescribed by John. I have jumped from that and now 8 weeks into Jim Wendlers Beyond 5-3-1 and have found my progress is still in the forward direction strenght wise. Hope this helps.

I’ll comment on the BF% goal first. 7% is very low, and IMHO cannot be achieved without meticulous attention to diet; ie, very few people can get to 7% just by ‘training and eating clean.’ IOW, you are going to have to weigh/measure everything you eat, and be very consistent in hitting specific macros day in and day out.

If your current BF is 16% as you estimate, you would need to lose ~21-22# of fat to get to 7%. In my experience, it is difficult (if not impossible) to get that low without losing at least a little strength and muscle along the way (assuming no PED use). Factoring in the muscle loss that accompanies a non-PED-enhanced cut, this translates to somewhere in the neighborhood of 25# weight loss. To lose this much weight while simultaneously eating enough to train hard (ie, not starving yourself), you need to average no more than ~1#/week weight loss. Thus, to lose 25#, we’re talking about a 6 month cut.

Re training: I agree with gmac that JM-style training is excellent (I did a 12-week individualized regimen with him). What I most appreciate about JM’s approach is how joint-friendly it is for the older lifter; I learned a great deal from him about workout programming in that regard. However, bear in mind that JM’s approach is strictly BBing; it is NOT designed to increase your strength on the PL movements. So if hitting big bench/DL/squat numbers is important to you, you’d be better served by following one of the PLing programs.

If you have the money and inclination, you should consider hiring JM to direct your training & nutrition for a few months–he’ll get you started in the right direction on both fronts. (BTW, I have no financial ties/arrangements with John, so I’m not singing his praises for personal gain.)

Something to consider re training…

Welcome, McLovinGator. If you’re looking for strength and muscle gains, I’ve been doing Bill Starr’s 5x5 for the past couple of months and found it gentle on my old frame yet kickass for building strength. I’m 57, sure a whippersnapper like you would do well. However, like Eye Dentist said, really hard to do fat loss and muscle build at same time.

Thank you to everyone for your replies. I’ll look over everything that has been stated. To EyeDentist, maybe I’ll shoot for 9 - 10% then. I don’t use any PEDs. I’ve recently gone to three meals a day, as opposed to the 6 meals a day. It seems to work better for me considering my lack of self control and somewhat of a slowing of metabolism. I’ll post every couple of weeks to keep myself accountable, as well as for anyone who is interested. Thank you gmac13, EyeDentist, RampantBadger, and cavalier.

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
I’ll comment on the BF% goal first. 7% is very low, and IMHO cannot be achieved without meticulous attention to diet; ie, very few people can get to 7% just by ‘training and eating clean.’ IOW, you are going to have to weigh/measure everything you eat, and be very consistent in hitting specific macros day in and day out.

If your current BF is 16% as you estimate, you would need to lose ~21-22# of fat to get to 7%. In my experience, it is difficult (if not impossible) to get that low without losing at least a little strength and muscle along the way (assuming no PED use). Factoring in the muscle loss that accompanies a non-PED-enhanced cut, this translates to somewhere in the neighborhood of 25# weight loss. To lose this much weight while simultaneously eating enough to train hard (ie, not starving yourself), you need to average no more than ~1#/week weight loss. Thus, to lose 25#, we’re talking about a 6 month cut.

Re training: I agree with gmac that JM-style training is excellent (I did a 12-week individualized regimen with him). What I most appreciate about JM’s approach is how joint-friendly it is for the older lifter; I learned a great deal from him about workout programming in that regard. However, bear in mind that JM’s approach is strictly BBing; it is NOT designed to increase your strength on the PL movements. So if hitting big bench/DL/squat numbers is important to you, you’d be better served by following one of the PLing programs.

If you have the money and inclination, you should consider hiring JM to direct your training & nutrition for a few months–he’ll get you started in the right direction on both fronts. (BTW, I have no financial ties/arrangements with John, so I’m not singing his praises for personal gain.)[/quote]

I will be the voice of opposition. I am not 39, but at 34 am not that young. I walk around at 7% body fat, and have been as low as 4.5%, but found my sweet spot between 6-7. Also, at the end of 2011, my bench max was 305, and I weighed upper 150’s. with about 12% body fat. Now I weigh upper 140’s at 7% and can hit 305 for a triple. No PED use, whatsoever. Until two weeks ago, I only used whey protein, but started a little creative mono hydrate a week and a half ago. I don’t weigh or measure my food, I eat good food until I am full 2-3 times per day.

You are either one of the very few people able to achieve contest-level BF% without dieting, or one of the very many people who underestimate their BF%. Whatever the case, it remains likely my information is correct with respect to the OP.

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
I’ll comment on the BF% goal first. 7% is very low, and IMHO cannot be achieved without meticulous attention to diet; ie, very few people can get to 7% just by ‘training and eating clean.’ IOW, you are going to have to weigh/measure everything you eat, and be very consistent in hitting specific macros day in and day out.

If your current BF is 16% as you estimate, you would need to lose ~21-22# of fat to get to 7%. In my experience, it is difficult (if not impossible) to get that low without losing at least a little strength and muscle along the way (assuming no PED use). Factoring in the muscle loss that accompanies a non-PED-enhanced cut, this translates to somewhere in the neighborhood of 25# weight loss. To lose this much weight while simultaneously eating enough to train hard (ie, not starving yourself), you need to average no more than ~1#/week weight loss. Thus, to lose 25#, we’re talking about a 6 month cut.

Re training: I agree with gmac that JM-style training is excellent (I did a 12-week individualized regimen with him). What I most appreciate about JM’s approach is how joint-friendly it is for the older lifter; I learned a great deal from him about workout programming in that regard. However, bear in mind that JM’s approach is strictly BBing; it is NOT designed to increase your strength on the PL movements. So if hitting big bench/DL/squat numbers is important to you, you’d be better served by following one of the PLing programs.

If you have the money and inclination, you should consider hiring JM to direct your training & nutrition for a few months–he’ll get you started in the right direction on both fronts. (BTW, I have no financial ties/arrangements with John, so I’m not singing his praises for personal gain.)[/quote]

I will be the voice of opposition. I am not 39, but at 34 am not that young. I walk around at 7% body fat, and have been as low as 4.5%, but found my sweet spot between 6-7. Also, at the end of 2011, my bench max was 305, and I weighed upper 150’s. with about 12% body fat. Now I weigh upper 140’s at 7% and can hit 305 for a triple. No PED use, whatsoever. Until two weeks ago, I only used whey protein, but started a little creative mono hydrate a week and a half ago. I don’t weigh or measure my food, I eat good food until I am full 2-3 times per day.[/quote]

The Eye Doc specifically stated that “very few people can get to 7% just by ‘training and eating clean’” and he is correct. The Eye Doc’s advice was good advice for most people. No offense–and I mean this in a good way–but you sound like a freak of nature. Your advice won’t work unless the person you are giving advice to is in an elite club of people.

My .02 cents.

Oops. The Eye Doc beat me to it.

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
You are either one of the very few people able to achieve contest-level BF% without dieting, or one of the very many people who underestimate their BF%. Whatever the case, it remains likely my information is correct with respect to the OP.[/quote]

Fair enough. BTW, I do a three site caliper test weekly, and do a 7 site monthly, and the 7 always comes up less than the 3.

I am unfortunately…normal.

If you are ready to do cardio 3 times a day, the HIIT type for 30-45 minutes a shot, do a fairly high protein and very low carbohydrate diet, and make sure you weight train 4-5 times a weak then you may make the low body fat level you wish in a few months. Your lifting regimen could be so many routines that one can not even begin to guess but the advice given above is good to do Wendler’s program or Bill Starr’s or Meadow’s.

Keep it simple and do lot’s of lifting if not all lifting with the compound movements to keep and build strength i.e. squat, deadlift, bench, and overhead press. If you want the abs to show and be defined then do ab work every day, vary the exercise, and do tons of reps. By the way if you just walk vigorously for 30 minutes 3 times a day you will have significant body fat loss but you must also get the diet dialed in and be consistent with your overall plan. Walk first thing in the morning, mid-day, and in the evening-this is an example of how to split up the cardio.

Just a little suggestion. I’ve been able to lose 30 lbs in body fat using the above type suggestions.

[quote]gorillavanilla wrote:
If you are ready to do cardio 3 times a day, the HIIT type for 30-45 minutes a shot, do a fairly high protein and very low carbohydrate diet, and make sure you weight train 4-5 times a weak then you may make the low body fat level you wish in a few months. Your lifting regimen could be so many routines that one can not even begin to guess but the advice given above is good to do Wendler’s program or Bill Starr’s or Meadow’s.

Keep it simple and do lot’s of lifting if not all lifting with the compound movements to keep and build strength i.e. squat, deadlift, bench, and overhead press. If you want the abs to show and be defined then do ab work every day, vary the exercise, and do tons of reps. By the way if you just walk vigorously for 30 minutes 3 times a day you will have significant body fat loss but you must also get the diet dialed in and be consistent with your overall plan. Walk first thing in the morning, mid-day, and in the evening-this is an example of how to split up the cardio.

Just a little suggestion. I’ve been able to lose 30 lbs in body fat using the above type suggestions. [/quote]

Thank you for the suggestions.

I’m doing a Sun, Tues, Thurs split of Upper/Lower/Upper.(I’ve decided to use Defranco’s WSFSB3) I do 20 minutes of interval cardio after lifting.(I would do sprints, but it’s cold and dark after/before work) I’ll add in 45 minutes of incline treadmill walking on other days (15%, 3.8mph) I’m eating 3 meals a day, lower carb intake, and no liquid calories. I’ll be posting in a month, and monthly after, to share my results.

My apologies… blatant hijack

It amazes me how many people on other parts of this site act like single digit fat is the norm… Hell Arnold was reported to be around 6- 8 % back in the day when he won the Mr .O. Now people on other corners of this site act if someone is a FAT ASS if they are at 10%. When in reality if that person is carrying reasonable amount of lean mass is way above the norm. But again guys are talking ( Natural) BB comp level conditions as if its a normal walking around 365/24/7 state. Just my opinion.